Mediterranean Red Lentil Soup (Vegan & pantry staple friendly)

This delicious soup was warming and hearty, and best of all it was easy to make with things I already keep in my pantry. It is perfect for dipping some no-knead bread, toast, or naan that you squirreled away in you freezer a few weeks ago. It made 6 servings, so we had it for dinner twice, and froze the rest for later this month.

Mediterranean Red Lentil Soup
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled & diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 Tablespoon yellow curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
4 cups (1 tetrapak) vegetable broth
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 Tablespoon harissa paste
2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
Sour cream or plain yogurt for serving
Chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, chives, or celery leaves for serving

Drizzle some olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot, over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, curry powder, and turmeric, and saute another minute until the garlic becomes fragrant. Don’t let the garlic burn!

Stir in the carrots, dried lentils, vegetable broth, and tomatoes (with their juice), and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered until the lentils are soft, about 20-25 minutes.

If the soup thickens too much, you can add a little more water while it simmers.

Remove from the heat, and add in the harissa paste, and lemon juice, stirring well to incorporate them.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, vegan sour cream, or plain yogurt on top, and sprinkle with fresh herbs.


My belly is getting warm just thinking about tasting this deliciousness. :yum:

I have everything to make this, except the harissa. What would be a good substitute? (I’ve never used it before which is why it’s not in our cupboard. LoL!)

Thanks so much for sharing this, it looks delicious! @MistressJennie, would sriracha be an acceptable substitute?

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Harissa is a chili pepper paste from North Africa. It contains roasted red peppers, serrano peppers, spices like caraway, coriander & cumin, as well as garlic. I would think you could easily substitute sriracha or any other hot pepper sauce you have on hand. But you will want to experiment with the amount of hot sauce you use. The harissa paste has a kick, but isn’t quite as 5-alarm HOT as many ‘hot sauces’, so a Tablespoon of sriracha would probably be too much, compared to a Tablespoon of harissa.

Once the pandemic is over, I do encourage folks to seek out harissa though. Even boring old Kroger carries a few types, some thicker and darker and more pungent, some thinner and brighter and more spiced. I tried it because Blue Apron sent me a recipe that called for it, and even though I am a total baby about spicy foods, I fell head over heels in love with it. It’s got that flavorful spice, rather than purely ‘burn-a-hole-in-your-tongue’ fire that deadens your taste buds. :slightly_smiling_face:

Yum! This looks and sounds so good.